Malpass says World Bank finalising US$160b coronavirus relief package

World Bank President David Malpass said the bank now has new Covid-19-related projects underway in 56 countries and is encouraging other multilateral development banks to co-finance follow-up tranches. ― Reuters pic
World Bank President David Malpass said the bank now has new Covid-19-related projects underway in 56 countries and is encouraging other multilateral development banks to co-finance follow-up tranches. ― Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, March 26 — The World Bank’s board is finalising a package of coronavirus relief valued at up to US$160 billion (RM695 billion) over the next 15 months, the development lender’s president, David Malpass said today.

“The goals are to shorten the time to recovery, create conditions for growth, support small and medium enterprises, and help protect the poor and vulnerable,” Malpass said in a statement issued after a G20 leaders call today.

He added that the health crisis hit close to home, as former World Bank US executive director Carole Brookins has died of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The World Bank earlier this month approved US$14 billion in loans and grants to bolster coronavirus medical responses, an amount that is included in the US$160 billion.

Malpass said the bank now has new Covid-19-related projects underway in 56 countries and is encouraging other multilateral development banks to co-finance follow-up tranches. World Bank Group entities are restructuring existing projects in 24 countries to direct funds to the health emergency.

“I’m particularly concerned about poor, densely populated countries such as India, where weak health systems need massively scalable investments in human capital, supplies and infrastructure,” Malpass said. “We are working hard to provide support through our public and private sector tools.

The International Finance Corp, the World Bank’s private sector arm, is working on new investments in 300 companies and is extending trade finance and working capital lines of credit, he added.

Malpass and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva yesterday urged bilateral creditors to extend debt relief to help the poorest countries deal with the pandemic. — Reuters

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